Arts & Humanities Campus News

Collection of poems weaves a story about identity, family and place

In “Survival Strategies,” Tennison S. Black tells a three-part love story wrapped in a reckoning. This collection of poems follows a narrative arc as the speaker returns to the Sonoran of her birth and takes us on a journey of enlightenment.

The first part, “The Sunniest Place on Earth,” is driven by the speaker’s deep hatred of the desert, a result of the way she was treated and what she witnessed while growing up there.

In the second section, “Estivate So You Don’t Die,” the speaker grapples with her past as a sensitive person in the rugged life of the Southwest. This section closes with a long-form prose poem exploring her mother’s childhood. The prose poem works with the rest of the section to reveal the speaker as an outsider, walking a path first laid by her mother.

The last section, “After,” is a set of short poems in which the speaker concludes her arc and finds peace as she realizes she never hated the desert.